Short-Term Technical Assistance for Promotion of Farmers Solidarity groups’ Model and Linkages to Financial Service Providers

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Hinga Weze Project Background 

Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze project is a USAID funded activity implemented by CNFA. The primary objective of the Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze activity is to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income, improve the nutritional status of Rwandan women and children, and increase the resilience of the agriculture and food systems to the changing climate. This is envisioned to be achieved through the sustainable increase of agriculture productivity, improving farmers’ access to market and improving nutrition outcomes of agriculture interventions.  The Activity is being implemented in the following ten districts of Rwanda: Gatsibo, Kayonza, Bugesera, Ngoma (Eastern Province); Nyabihu, Rutsiro, Ngororero Nyamasheke, Karongi (Western Province); and Nyamagabe (Southern Province).

To achieve the goals of the activity, five nutrient-rich value chains will be specifically targeted: high-iron beans, Orange Flesh Sweet Potato (OFSP), Irish potato, maize, and horticulture. Recognizing the importance of accessing affordable financial services for market-oriented smallholder farmers, Hinga Weze (HW) will collaborate with a range of stakeholders, including financial service providers and other USAID-funded projects, to facilitate men and women farmers’ access to credit and markets. Hinga Weze will actively explore opportunities to leverage private-sector resources to create market opportunities for beneficiaries. 

The agricultural financing landscape analysis (products and activities in the market) that Hinga Weze undertook in 2017 has identified the lack of collateral, the high cost of accessing finance, lack of banking history, high level of financial illiteracy rate and inadequate credit management skills and knowledge among other barriers to smallholder farmers financial inclusion. The same analysis has also identified the promotion of financial services usage combined with technical assistance as possible solutions to smallholder farmer’s exclusion to financial services. 

In addition to supporting financial service providers in tailoring their products to the needs of these underserved small holder farmers, the promotion of solidary groups model, which is one of the focus activity of some of microfinance institutions and SACCOs in Hinga Weze zone of influence, if implemented within the cooperatives and farmer groups could be a channel through which small holder farmers embark into financial transformation journey where they learn and adopt saving and loan practices with a strategic purpose to improve either an agricultural productivity (through timely access to inputs) or nutrition status (animal protein production assets). 

Objective of assignment 

The objective of the assignment is to provide technical assistance to Hinga Weze to implement the solidary group model (pilot phase) within the farmers’ cooperatives and provide the capacity building to solidary groups’ members and Hinga Weze district staff.  The pilot phase will focus on four districts (Karongi, Rutsiro, Ngororero in Western province and Bugesera in Eastern province) in Irish potatoes, Maize and Horticulture value chains. 

Scope of the Short-Term Technical Assistance 

The purpose of Solidary group model is to provide simple savings and loan facilities in a community that does not have easy access to formal financial services. The TA will in general, help HW identified beneficiaries to form solidarity groups.

More specifically the TA will cover the following assignment:

a)Conduct  quick financial and business analysis for the selected cooperatives;

b)Facilitate the formation of groups within the cooperatives/ zones.  Each group is composed of 10 self-selected individuals. Groups will meet on a weekly basis, and members save;

c)Monitor (Intensive and routine coaching and monitoring) the solidarity groups’ activities and support to put in place the internal rules and regulations;

d)Train solidarity groups facilitators and leaders cooperatives in financial literacy and solidarity groups’ model. This activity aims at promoting the savings and credits culture in the entire cooperative starting with cooperative management;

e)Facilitate the linkage of solidarity groups to financial service providers;

f)Provide coaching to BMFD and Outreach officers on solidarity groups concepts and methodology.

Deliverables and expected outcomes 

Hinga Weze is expecting the following deliverables 

1.Financial and Business Analysis Report produced;

2.50 Farmers solidarity groups formed in each district with a minimum of 2,000 farmers reached;

3.BMFD Officers and Outreach officers from the four targeted districts trained in solidary groups model through coaching process;

4.Solidarity groups facilitators and leaders trained;

5.Coaching (intensive and routine) and monitoring of the formed solidary groups provided until their maturity;

6.Established linkage of solidarity groups to at least three financial service providers.

Competencies Required 

Applicants are required to provide profiles for all proposed technicians, clearly stating their roles and responsibilities, level of effort, and including their technical expertise and practical experience. 

This assignment expected to carry out by experienced individuals/firm with the following qualifications:

1. A Bachelor’s degree in management, Business Administration/Agriculture Economics/Finance/ Agriculture/Agri-business or related field; 

2.Must have strong experience in coaching and follow up of the solidary groups in Rwanda;

3.Expertise in financial inclusion through linkages of smallholder farmers to  non-financial and  financial service providers;

4. Minimum 5 years’ experience in microfinance business in Rwanda;

5. Must have good knowledge of the Rwandan agricultural finance context, especially for smallholder farmers; 

6. Strong analytical skills, report writing and ability to triangulate data from multiple sources; 

7. Strong communication and facilitation skills backed by knowledge of adult learning techniques and speaking local language speakers where necessary;

8. Track record in conducting solitary groups capacity building related activities in the agriculture sector.

Required level of effort and time frame 

The required level of effort is 80 working days for the above deliverables.

Confidentiality of information and language  

All documents and data will be treated as confidential and used solely to facilitate the work in this assignment. The deliverables of this work will be the responsibility of the consultant and will be aligned with all the aspects as outlined in these terms of reference.  Hinga Weze will be responsible for the coordination role and will be the owner of the deliverables. The reports will be produced in English and should be simple in expression and easy to understand. 

Instructions to prospective bidders   

Preparation of Proposals: You are requested to submit separate technical and financial proposal. You are advised to carefully read the complete Scope of Work. Where an electronic copy of the scope of work is issued, the paper or hard copy is the original version. In the event of any discrepancy between the two, the hard copy shall prevail  

Technical Proposals: Technical proposals should contain the following documents and information and should not exceed 10 pages (proposals exceeding these pages will not be considered): 

1. The consultant profile/CV;

2. An approach and methodology for performing the services; 

3. A detailed work plan;

4. Copies of previous contracts;

5. A summary of your experience in similar assignments with supporting documents;

Financial Proposals: Financial proposals should contain the following document and information and should not exceed 2 pages:

1.A copy of the breakdown showing all costs for the assignment, broken down into fees and reimbursable and miscellaneous costs. The costs associated with the assignment shall be estimated in US dollars.

Validity of Proposals: Proposals must remain valid for 30 days.  

Submission of Proposals: The technical and financial proposals should be submitted separately in the same email, both marked with “Technical Proposal” or “Financial Proposal” as appropriate.   

Proposals (both technical and financial) should be submitted in Word/Excel or PDF formats by email to clearly indicating the subject line: “Call for proposals for Short-Term Technical Assistance for promotion of farmers’ solidary groups’ model and linkage to financial service providers”

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